Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor
Friday, April 2, 2010 2:28 PM EDT
In the paper recently, a whole page was devoted to asking people what for them was the first sign of spring -- me, I start buying pretty vintage stuff I don't need (more so than usual.)
I don't care how timeless your furniture or how good your self control, once that fresh spring air billows through the curtains you can't resist the lure of change. As warmish rays transform the outdoors, your eye scours the indoors for something to repaint, reskin, reorganize, or just simply refresh. I've already succumbed to a fruitful trip to my local Value Village, where I picked up a slew of blue and white mismatched ceramics for a lush backyard picnic I foresee in my near future. And that's just the beginning. I plan to descend on my unassuming home to administer one or more of the following, which no matter your taste, style, or budget, can offer the perfect spring pick-me-up.
Paint It White
My recently painted floors; Garrendenny Lane Interiors blog
The simplest way to instant gratification. If you don't know what to do with it but can't quite throw it out, paint it white! I recently painted my floors (see link above) a high gloss white, and I can't tell you the pay off in the transformation department. All my furniture pops, the house looks a zillion times brighter, and the look is way more unique than any engineered floor I could have had installed (the floors were a 100-year-old mess.) I do understand that painting floors may be more than a spring pick-me-up, so go for that tired dresser in your kids room, or that little scuffed side table your parents gave you, or maybe even those tired kitchen stools. Heck, why stop there? Do the bed frame, the hallway mirror, and maybe even the patio furniture!
Dove Grey Linen Curtains
Photo by Virginia Macdonald, via StyleatHome.com
Natural, gauzy linen is all the rage these days, and you can't scoff at that like you can, say, at the colour turquoise -- natural beauty never goes out of style. Aside from being inherently lovely, a nice quality linen is to spring and summer what tweed and velvet is to fall and winter. Curtains are the perfect place to express those seasonal changes, especially when you make them floor-to-ceiling, and hang them on a nice curtain rod. Preferably real iron, or natural wood. And leave the windows open a tad, to give them a little volume...
Natural Wood Accents
Clockwise from the top; West Elm "Coconut Husk" pendant lamp; Crate & Barrel basket; Rhodia folding chair via Remodelista.com; natural wood finials, Crate & Barrel.
This season, one of the main trends to heed is the use of natural materials. Natural meaning unfinished, untreated, not dyed, or made to look like something it's not. Natural wood emerges as the most common to convey this trend, and also happens to have a great spring-fresh look. The nice thing about it is, it's so neutral, it can go with any type of decor. Modern interiors can enjoy the beachy lightness of that "coconut husk" lamp, almost any interior can find room for a natural woven basket, and my personal favourite are those wood finials from Crate & Barrel. Don't have something to affix them to? Plop them on your bookshelf -- they're gorgeous! I also love the idea of keeping a stack of natural wood folding chairs for when you throw open your doors and take over the porch, deck or balcony. Sidle them up to any table, which can be easily transformed with a full-length linen table cloth, and voila: spring!
House Beautiful; farmhouse kitchen from Sarah's House 3, Episode 4.
Yep, pastels. You can work them in with a throw, a pillow, a little paint, and even a rug. Look at that gorgeous, sun-bleached living room on the left -- see? Pastels can be unisex! There's enough pink in there to make my 3-year-old princess call it her ultimate castle, and yet, the look is decidedly un-prissy. The key is the right pastels: nothing matchy baby-room-ish, or '80s Floridian. You'll know the wrong pastels when you see them. Look to sun-bleached, richer tones, or diluted hints of colour like the buttery yellow (right) that seems to be Sarah Richardson's favourite, on Sarah's House 3.
Clockwise from the top; Photo by Chris Everard, via Simply Natural Decor blog; Martha Moments blog; Ballard Designs; CountryLiving.com.
It sounds a bit Stepford Wives and outdated -- seasonal slip covers -- but as the older generation likes to remind the younger: everything old is new again! And so it is with slip covers, the diaphanous possibilities of which make me think of nothing but warm, sunny afternoons. As you may know from a previous post about my sofa, I speak from experience when I laud a slip cover's advantage. Any decently shaped chair, sofa, bed frame and even table, can pull off a fresh petticoat, as see in the examples above. Aside from the freshness it can bring to your home, the slip cover is a great way to give old furniture a contemporary look and a new lease on life. That sofa on the top left shows how you don't even need to sew -- a nice piece of linen (there's that linen again) simply strewn over will do the trick just the same!